12-16 firm, unblemished fresh figs
2 cups raw sugar
3 cups water
¼ cup dark rum
1 lemon, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon
2 whole green cardamom pods, lightly crushed to loosen the seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped out
Put the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients, including the figs, and simmer very gently for 1 hour, (a simmer mat is ideal for gentle cooking), occasionally stirring them but taking care not to break the skins or they will fall apart. The syrup should look golden and reduced. If the figs are cooked but the syrup is still thin, use a slotted spoon to very carefully lift the figs out of the saucepan and place in wide-topped sterilized jars. Put the syrup back over the heat and boil until reduced.
Divide the lemon and spices between the jars and pour over the syrup. Seal tightly. This will fill a 7 cup capacity jar depending on the size of the figs